EU Governments under pressure to act against Musharraf

November 14th, 2007 - 8:33 am ICT by admin  
“Of course it is not business as usual” in EU relations with Pakistan, senior European Commission official Helen Campbell told a public hearing on Pakistan at the European Parliament’s sub-committee on human rights.

EU policymakers are reflecting on how best to react to the measures, which have been condemned by the bloc’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and in a joint statement issued by EU envoys in Islamabad.

No immediate aid cut-off is planned given that most of the EU’s 50 million euro aid programme in Pakistan focuses on health, education and projects for promoting women’s status.

Many EU Governments believe suspending aid would penalise the people of Pakistan, not the government. Most of this money is channelled to Pakistan through non-governmental organisations.

“I believe that any deviation from the general democratic process cannot be a solution,” Solana warned in a statement, adding: “Abandoning the path to democracy is not the answer.”

EU envoys have repeated that free and fair elections must be held on schedule and said there must be a restoration of civilian rule, respect for the independence of the judiciary and freedom of the media.

President Musharraf must pursue political reconciliation in the national interest, restore the constitutional order and release all political detainees as soon as possible, the envoys insisted.

While recognising that Pakistan faces threats to its peace and security, the envoys said that stability and development could only be achieved with democracy and the rule of law.

European parliamentarians voiced scepticism at Musharraf’s assertion that elections would still be held and called for the immediate lifting of the state of emergency, the Dawn reported. (ANI)

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